Arsenal star ruled out of Liverpool clash through illness
10:48 14 February 2014
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla will play no part in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Liverpool after the midfielder called in sick this morning, manager Arsene Wenger has revealed.
The Gunners have a quick chance to atone for the 5-1 Premier League thrashing the Reds dished out to them last weekend at Anfield and the French boss will welcome back Mathieu Flamini from his three-match suspension.
“Cazorla is ill in bed today, I have just been informed, so he certainly will not be available for Sunday,” Wenger said this morning.
“We have only one player back and that’s Flamini who comes back from suspension, not even from injury, so he should be fresh and available.
“That’s the only positive news we have.
The Gunners boss insists that the return and stabilising influence of midfield general Flamini, will be a boost.
“At the moment we don’t have [Aaron] Ramsey and if Cazorla is not available, of course we are a bit short in midfield, so he’s [Flamini] welcome back.”
Sunday’s cup clash is the third big game in a row and precedes their Champions League round of 16 first leg clash against holders Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Wenger has previously rotated his squad for FA Cup games – crashing out last year to Championship side Blackburn – but he insists that whatever team he fields against Liverpool it will be with a view to winning the tie and the competition.
“I’ll play a team with a good chance to qualify,” he said. “Whether I rest one or two or three players, I don’t know yet. Certainly we have just one focus, which is to win this game.
“We will go for any competition we can and the FA Cup is one of the competitions and it’s our next game, so of course we will go for it.”
The Arsenal boss said there is no fear of playing Liverpool so soon after getting blown away by the Merseysiders, in fact it’s quite the opposite, and he highlighted the 0-0 draw his men earned in midweek against Manchester United.
“We got it [the 5-1 defeat] out of our system because our main frailty at Liverpool was that we conceded goal after goal in 20 minutes.
“On Wednesday night we came back to our usual defensive stability.
“I would say they [Liverpool] are the first team we want to play. We have that opportunity to put things right.”